Linux???? is it real

From: Wirehead Prime <>
Date: Sun Jan 4 23:22:49 1998

Allison (and everyone else reading),

I struggled with my first Linux installs in 1994. There were no manuals
nor any people to help me. I had to get a system up and running to get
into business as an ISP so expediency was more important than optimum
configuration. I came up with the following recommendations to get a
system up quickly and without hassle:

1. 386 or 486 box with AMI (American Megatrends) BIOS. I've had some
luck with Phoenix and other BIOS's over the years but I've found AMI to
be the most consistent in terms of getting a box operational.

2. RAM is relatively unimportant BUT if you do not have more than 4 megs
you will need to go through a procedure to turn on your swap space BEFORE
running the install or it will crash and die.

mkswap /dev/hdaX Y where X is swap partition number as shown in fdisk
and Y is the size of X in blocks
swapon /dev/hdaX

3. Do NOT try doing the Linux running out of an MS-DOS directory on your
first install. I've NEVER done this nor do I suspect it's that pleasant
plus it makes me feel stupid to run Linux out of DOS. :-/ Get a drive,
partition using LINUX FDISK (NOT DOS FDISK) and use it all for Linux.

4. Use IDE hard drives until you know enough about doing installs. Then
you can use SCSI more effectively.

5. If your BIOS can deal with the drive, Linux can too...with CERTAIN
exceptions...on some BIOSs you're given the choice of using Normal, Large
or LBA for block addressing. Sometimes you have to try different
settings to get a Linux install to go. Linux may complain if it thinks
the drive has more than 1024 cylinders but the complaint can,
essentially, be ignored these days. This is experience speaking.

6. Be prepared to turn off caches...internal and external in the BIOS.
Sometimes, especially on newer kernels like Slackware 3.0, you can't get
the boot floppy to go because it'll crash out and give you stack dump
type information. Try turning off first the external cache and then the
internal cache if that doesn't work. Not all caches are created equal.

7. Create TWO partitions with fdisk...the sequence looks like this...

do a 'p' to print out the partition list
do 'd's to delete all existing partitions

do 'n' to create new partition then 'p' to make it primary then '1' to
make it the first primary partition, set the starting block at 0 or 1 and
the ending block a couple hundred blocks from the last block

do 'n' to create another new partition then 'p' to make it primary then '2'
to make it the secondary primarty partitition, set the starting block to
the next block from the last block of the first partition and the last
block to the last block available

then do a 't' and select '2' for the partition number and '82' for the can do an 'l' to get a list of want to set it to
Linux swap...Linux filesystem or whatever is the default. Partition 1
should be left at the default type and partition 2 should be Linux Swap.

Do another 'p' to make sure it looks cool. It may complain about the
drive if it has more than 1024 cylinders. Ignore it.

Do a 'w' to save the changes, power down and power up with the floppy and
do your install.

8. If it's formatting the partitions and freaks out complaining that it
can't write inodes or superblocks and gives you a long list of these
complaints...and you have a drive over 2 gigs in size try creating 3
partitions...the first two of equal size totalling most of the drive and
the last being your swap. Or try a different block addressibility type
in the BIOS.

9. There are usually different boot disk types...IDE only, IDE/SCSI,
SCSI only. Make sure you use the IDE only. It's the easiest.

10. If you want to install off cdrom and the install won't recognize the
drive...wait for the boot prompt when you boot up and type install
hdX=cdrom where X is a,b,c or d which correspond to what you're used to
as Drive C:, D:, E: or F: If it's an IDE-ATAPI type CD-ROM, it should work.

Finally, if someone REALLY REALLY wants to load Linux on a system and is
willing to follow my instructions, be patient with me, realize that I
have a family to support and will send me some trinket in return (S-100
cards, Shugart SA-400 drives, etc all work) AND are willing to call ME
long-distance I can probably help you out. Email is probably easier.

The main problem with Linux isn't with's with the umpteen
zillion cheapo motherboards, peripheral cards and hard drives
manufactured for intel-oriented PCs. I've loaded Linux at least a 100
times since 1994 but I do it a pretty low-tech way. Alot of times I'll
just load Slackware 2.0 if I don't care about X much. Alot of times I'll
just load up Caldera because it's easy. The only way I've NEVER done it
is on an MS-DOS drive out of a dos directory. I won't even attempt that.

Anthony Clifton - Wirehead

> There is one little bug... I've never
seen a running linux box nor
> have I been successful in getting one going. After loading 75 floppies
> becuase the CDrom I have is not supported I'm more than annoyed and
> have not found a resource to assist beyond suggesting I'd be better
> off running microspooge. The latter is insulting and demeaning. On
> the other hand if someone can prove that working slakware v3.0 really
> exists I can be swayed.
Received on Sun Jan 04 1998 - 23:22:49 GMT

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